Mexico vs Honduras: No Reason for El Tri to Panic Following Draw

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 23, 2013

Jun 3, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Mexico forward Giovani dos Santos (10) and forward Javier Chicharito Hernandez (14) and midfielder Andres Guardado (18) celebrate a goal against Brazil during the first half at Cowboys Stadium. Mexico shut out Brazil 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Everybody calm down. Mexico has almost no chance of missing out on the 2014 World Cup.

Following El Tri's second draw of CONCACAF qualifying, there is bound to be some overreaction. Some might speculate as to whether Mexico can actually earn an automatic bid for the World Cup.

Fans should not forget that the country is only two games into qualification. Qualifying for the World Cup is a marathon, not a sprint.

There's still another eight matches Mexico can use to distance itself from the rest of CONCACAF. El Tri is the class of the group. There should be no doubt about that. The rest of CONCACAF looks to be fighting for the second and third spots. The United States is very vulnerable and it's hard to envision the likes of Honduras, Jamaica, Costa Rica and Panama all possibly leapfrogging Mexico.

The worst thing that Jose Manuel de la Torre could do at this point is panic and make a ton of changes to his lineup for the next match against the United States.

Let's also not forget that Honduras beat Mexico, 3-1, in qualification for the 2010 World Cup. That didn't stop El Tri from finishing second in the group, only one point behind the U.S.

One of the most underrated factors of CONCACAF qualifying is how difficult it is to win on the road, especially in the Hexagonal. The kind of perceived ease with which you can qualify for the World Cup is perfectly symbolized by Raymond Domenech's speaking as to how much he'd love to coach the United States (h/t Keith Hickey of Goal.com).

Nick Miroff of The Washington Post wrote about how San Pedro Sula, Honduras—where Mexico just played—is the most violent place in the world. That's not the most welcoming environment for any away squad, especially one as prominent as Mexico.

In CONCACAF, you have incredibly heated atmospheres that are unlike almost anything in the world. Not mention how poor a quality some of the stadiums are in terms of the playing surfaces. Countries like Mexico and the United States don't have a golden road to qualification. The Hexagonal can be extremely difficult at times.

Getting a draw would have been thought of as a good result for Mexico prior to tonight. The fact that El Tri squandered a two-goal lead is the galling part.

The goal that leveled the match was scored under contentious circumstances. There's some debate as to whether it was actually a penalty. Jerry Bengston fired in the rebound off his own penalty miss to make the score 2-2. If the official doesn't give Honduras the penalty, Mexico is likely to win and take all three points and go top of the Hexagonal as a result.

Instead, fans are likely to be up in arms about a Mexico team that has started qualification with two consecutive draws. Everything could change and be right with the world should El Tri do what they do and beat the U.S. in the Estadio Azteca.

More than likely, Mexico will look back on this match as one point gained rather than two points lost.


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